The U.S. EPA has issued a final rule to designate the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site to receive dredged sediment from ports and harbors in Connecticut and New York that has passed stringent testing requirements and for which practicable alternatives are not available.
The Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site (ELDS) is located immediately to the west of the current New London Disposal Site, entirely in Connecticut state waters.
The existing New London Disposal Site will be closing on December 23, 2016.
“EPA’s decision to establish the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site incorporates protections and restrictions on use similar to those established for the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites earlier this year,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
“Our decision is based on sound science, reflects extensive public input, and strikes an appropriate balance between the need for dredging to maintain safe navigation and protecting the significant natural resources of Long Island Sound. The site protections and restrictions we included in the final rule are intended to help meet the goal of reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in the open waters of Long Island Sound.”
EPA has engaged in a lengthy process to establish the ELDS and two other sites in Long Island Sound for disposal of dredged material found suitable for open-water disposal, and the final designation benefitted from the significant input from state and local agencies, as well as from the general public.
In response to public input, EPA’s final action reduces the overall number of disposal sites from four to three, reduces the footprint of the ELDS from the original proposal and protects ecologically-sensitive areas with active fisheries.
The final rule designating the ELDS includes standards for disposal and also includes procedures to promote the development and use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged sediment.